Thursday, 8 January 2009
It is a new year, I have moved to a new studio, I am painting a new portrait and I have a new draft of edits on my novel to complete. My old blog on my website never worked properly and is a random mismatch of fonts and sizes which will not be altered back - so I'm making a new start with everything.
The reason I am blogging is to chart my attempt to become successful working for myself in the creative world. I hope that it will be of help to other amateurs. I started a couple of years ago and in that time I have made some headway. I was an unemployed mother of two but I now have my own business as a portrait artist http://www.sarahlangstone.com/ and writer. I have moved to a larger studio at the New Art Centre in Chatham http://www.thenac.co.uk/ and have had some successes. I exhibited for the first time and was surprised how much I gained from the experience. Over 5000 people came through the gallery and I learned a lot from watching them and listening to their comments. The biggest change though was feeling the freedom to call myself an artist and the biggest surprise was the next time I visited London galleries. I walked around them, seeing the building as just another exhibition space - something achievable - not out of my league. This gave me the confidence to start entering the big competitions. I was also published in a book along with some other Medway Artists and one of my portraits was chosen to be made into a digital mosaic. www.framedway.org.uk/mosaics.html As a result I had some of my paintings projected onto Rochester Castle in 2008 as part of the Medway Cultural Olympiad.
I have also been writing for many years now and have been working on my first novel for a looooong time! The past couple of years have seen me concentrating on bringing it together into a complete thing. I've also been torturing myself by networking - something that does not come naturally to me. I now have a whole bunch of agents who are interested and I finally found the nerve to send my novel to a legendary agent in July 2008. He phoned my house the very next day but I was at a Crime-writing festival so he wrote to me instead with his critique of what I need to change for the book to suit him. They are all valid points but I must admit, I have been licking my wounds a bit! He is right though, and I need to alter it now - if the home life hadn't become manic shortly after, I would have aimed to get it back to him within the month but it can't be helped. I just hope the delay hasn't put him off. I have a special needs child and a mother with Alzheimers. Life can really get in the way at times...
I keep in mind one line from his letter: 'No doubt about your creativity and potential.' I was also tipped as 'the next big thing' by a journalist from the Sunday Telegraph which is a nice boost to my ego!
I am proud of what I have achieved in the last two years. I have gone from being a secretive arty type, hidden away at home to a self-employed more confident person who is (I hope) on the cusp of becoming successful. The thing that had held me back in the past was being told that I had to choose between art and writing. It was when I read 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron that I realised I could do both and call myself 'a creative'. Yes I am over-stretched and over-worked, but I am loving every moment of it. If you want to join me on this journey, I will be glad to have your company.
This will work!